Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. S. Claus in today's Holiday Parade

More to follow...

Happy Holidays from Mars and Venus!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Deerfield Beach mayor turns self in, faces felony charge

Resulting from voting for, and being paid as an engineer, on the same project - without declaring a conflict of interest.

One example of a City's Newsletter...

Notice the legibility of this newsletter. I'm not a fan of the green and red theme, but you can read it.

Our third large container arrived today - Recycling

When I went for coffee this morning, I noticed that my blue and yellow recycling bins were gone - someone took them. I thought that was odd. Later, the above containers were distributed up and down the street. Apparently, this is for everything that is recyclable. We now have a third large container to store and attempt to hide. Oh, and did the city announce this? I didn't see it mentioned in the all-knowing calender.

Sometimes it seems like...

Chat with neighbor...

Yesterday, coming back from walking the dogs, my neighbor came out his front door with his golf clubs and headed for his car. It was just starting to rain and I asked him if he thought he'd be able to get a game in before it really rained. He looked at the darkening clouds and said he thought so. I asked him where he plays. He said he just took up the game a couple of months ago. He likes to go to the Forest Hill (WPB) course, a course in Lantana and Okeeheelee.

Then I asked if he goes to the Lake Worth golf course. He said, emphatically, "No!" I asked why that was. He said it's too expensive, the greens are bad and it's not as nice as the others. He really likes the Lantana course. He said it's about $15 cheaper to play there and the course is in great shape.

Of course, this is just one person and his opinion, but how often is this played out amongst our own residents? Is this another instance where we are sending people outside the city limits - this time to meet their recreational needs?

Roads in Lake Worth to close on Saturday for parade

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quick notes from last night's presentation and City Commission meeting re Casino Building and Beach

These are from notes taken during the meeting. More discussion and analysis later.
  • Structural report included more invasive process to determine building condition. Found that the building needs work, but not in risk of failure.
  • Straticon felt that building official was correct in making the call to condemn the building based on other reports as it was a public building. Spalling concrete could fall and cause injury.
  • Design would entail extending retail spaces 12 ft. to the east and consume area taken up by walkway/overhang.
  • New colonnade would be built east in a style similar to that of the original building.
  • Center pass-through would provide access to western area and new patio.
  • Ballroom would be expanded to twice the current size. Second floor north of center of building does not exist now.
  • New gable roof would be added where flat roof exists now. Allows for greater ceiling height than present.
  • Open air patio 360 degrees around second floor.
  • Straticon thought that historic designation was possible. (I am not sure about that as this is more of a reconstruction than a restoration - my opinion)
  • LEED certification possible but vague on level that could be achieved. Sounded like certification would be due to location more than other factors or building techniques.
  • Estimate for building only would be just short of $10 million and would include locker room building.
  • Site work not included.
  • Total of 50,000 sq. ft (waiting for confirmation of this figure).
  • Building would be gutted. All new mechanical, electrical and plumbing.
  • Construction would be phased. Tenants moved around during construction.
  • Predicted 12 to 14 month construction period (wildly optimistic in my opinion)
  • Commissioner Jennings brought up a local hiring requirement (labor center?)
  • Building life estimated at 20 years before additional work needed. On-going maintenance essential.
  • Parking structure not addressed.
  • Design/build approach to construction.
Please post comment for corrections if you attended meeting and I am in error re any of the above.

Click title for link to audio of meeting.

South Florida Blade re WPB bar owner found dead outside Ocala

Article by yours truly - click title for link.

"New" Casino Building Schematic and Narrative

Notice John G's new western open air dining area.

These are views of what was distributed last night by Straticon and company.

Town of Palm Beach - New Board formed - Shore Protection - Meeting 12/17

Lake Worth votes to research restoring casino building

View of "New" Casino Building

This is what was presented to the City Commission last night at the special meeting. Total estimated cost $10,000,000 - building only. Much more later. Lots of questions needing answers.

Trying to keep an open mind.

Here is a brief clip from the meeting. The Mayor is difficult to hear - no fault of the recording equipment.

The Mayor is musing about whether the City can just give the contract to Straticon and what the bidding requirements are. At the end of this clip, he is approached by someone who responded to the RFP two years ago. It made me realize that if the City doesn't follow the CCNA rules (State law regulating procurement of professional services) - we could also face legal claims from those that were excluded from submitting a proposal. By the end of the discussion - after Commissioner Mulvehill complained about being bound by rules and procedures - they acted to follow legal procurement processes - but only after Mr. Baldwin reminded them that laws should be followed. Mr. Karns (City Attorney) was little help.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

City Commission Special Meeting - Casino Building - 12/10

Notice this is a special meeting - they can take action. It is not a workshop.

Holiday Stroll Downtown Lake Worth Dec. 13th 6pm-9pm

For a more global perspective....

Click title for link to a series of satellite imagery.

CRA Meeting Agenda - Tonight - 12/9

Click title for link to back-up material. Let me know if you need copies of the proposals received in response to Request for Letters of Intent - or you can call or go to the CRA office.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Prime examples of the poor way in which the City of Lake Worth communicates with its citizens...

In stark contrast to the example provided by Punta Gorda, Florida, here are just two recent examples of poor, expensive and confusing messages/images put out by our City "organ."

First of all, here is a copy of our Fall 2008 City of Lake Worth Newsletter. Apparently the City Commission thinks it's only necessary to communicate formally four times a year with the residents. When they do this, they chose to send out this "City Times" printed on glossy, heavy stock paper. I assume that it was sent out, but since I didn't get one through my mailbox (this one I picked up at City Hall) I can't attest to that for sure.

The first page consists of a recreation department schedule and an announcement of the new director and assistant. We read that we can expect great things from this new team. Hmmm.

And on the second and third pages, we have barely comprehensible type that is printed over a patch of pumpkins. The Summer edition of "City Times" had hurricane and other information printed over dark gray palm trees fighting the wind. This version is only moderately more readable.For another example of this dark print on dark background phenomena, check out the City's "Mission Statement" at any of a number of customer service portals in the city. How unfortunately predictable it is that the City's "Mission Statement" is unreadable!

The third page has an article about the change in yard waste and larger household goods pick-up that was the subject of an elaborate, heavy stock calendar. More on that publication later in this post. But at least here, we have the benefit of having the only useful piece of information of that calendar - the map that showed what days pick-up would be done around the city.

And here we have the fourth page which is white space and has numbers you can call for city departments.How many of these were printed and at what cost? Is this really seen as an effective way to communicate with the citizenry?

About a month ago, two guys in a city truck went around with a yellow (for our area of town) slip that was stuck to our front doors. It announced a change in yard and household white goods pick-up to alternating weeks. The slip said that this change would be explained further in a calendar that will be available to everyone. A couple days pass and the same two guys in the truck came by and delivered this 16+ page, spiral bound, heavy and shiny stock calendar.

How are these publications abiding by the Mayor's Climate Control Task Force recommendations? By the way, the CRA sent out its annual report on post consumer recycled paper, printed with soy-based inks.

Here is the cover of the calendar:

Here is December and it is about as clear as mud when to put out your stuff if you only refer to this. This caused a lot of confusion in my neighborhood the day it was implemented - on a Friday. People put everything out - regular garbage, large pick-up items, recycling. I am happy to report that after about a month into it, people realize that our regular household pick-up didn't change from Monday and Thursday.

Buried in the calendar is this page which better explains what is happening with the 4 day pick-up schedule - but it is opposite June 2009! If we don't have it down by then, then we have real problems.

The most useful piece of this publication was the hard to find pull out map on the back page of the calendar. This is the one I mentioned above.

Again, what did this cost, how many were printed and why make it so confusing? Does anyone really care about environmental impacts or are we just "green washing?"

Still on the subject of communication, Chairman of the CRA Mark Rickards mentioned that he talked to the Mayor during board member comments at the end of one the CRA's recent meetings. The Mayor inquired about the CRA funding a public relations/public information officer along with the City in order to get the word out about City activities and policies on a consistent and reliable basis. I thought it was a great idea but was concerned about spending CRA for general city functions. It was left that someone would look into the details and get back to the board with some answers. Just last week, I hadn't heard anything about what was found out so I inquired. The answer came indirectly from a "highly placed" person in the City Manager's office who said that the Commission gave that contract out to "Politically Correct". Apparently the City's lobbyist will be doing the on-going public information from now on from the City. Has anyone detected a change?

I'll make a few more calls tomorrow.

The only constant is change...

This time, Lake Worth works

Another editorial penned by one of the occupants of the cozy, paneled, corner offices at the Palm Beach Post. This time it's about the Day Labor Center - at least they call it what it is. And they didn't even mention Commissioner Cara Jennings and her latest act of contrition. But I guess the time for aggrandizing her has passed, for the moment.